U-turns leave Malcolm Turnbull on the ropes and facing coup

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton's assurances did not go far in quelling leadership speculation

Party whip Nola Marino confirmed Mr Turnbull won 48 votes to 35 for Mr Dutton.

Peter Dutton has resigned from cabinet after he fell short of ousting Malcolm Turnbull as leader.

Given the short run up to this vote, the Dutton forces can hope to muster additional numbers now the battle is out in the open.

Tony Abbott will say something.

But the result - narrow by historical standards for a first strike against a prime minister - sets the Turnbull government up for further instability and the possibility of another ballot before the next federal election.

Labor's Kevin Rudd became the second Australian prime minister to be dumped while in office when Julia Gillard rolled him in 2010 just before an election.

"In relation to media stories today, just to make very clear, the Prime Minister has my support and I support the policies of the Government", Dutton tweeted.

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Dutton will move to the backbench from the Home Affairs Minister position he lobbied hard to create, where he is likely to continue to agitate for the leadership. The concerns have been fuelled by fear among Queensland seat holders, who have been thrown into a panic after the plunge in the Liberal National Party vote in the recent Longman byelection.

"Scott Morrison will act as Home Affairs Minister".

'We've had a great period of stability over the past three years. "Our job is to work for the people who put us here".

"In politics you have to focus on what you can deliver", Mr Turnbull told reporters on Monday. "They don't like is being focused on ourselves or talking about each other", he said.

"I made a decision not because i had any animosity towards Malcolm Turnbull".

Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party Julie Bishop also spoke briefly, having successfully retained her position after no one contested her for the role.

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